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Jane Kalmbach art selected to hang in Governor's office

Kenmare artist Jane Kalmbach is starting the New Year with a new venue for her paintings, as the featured artist in the offices of Governor John Hoeven and First Lady Mikey Hoeven.

12/30/09 (Wed)

Painting for the Governor's office . . . Kenmare artist Jane Kalmbach shows
some of the art she will exhibit in the offices of Governor John Hoeven and
First Lady Mikey Hoeven for the next three months, through a program
coordinated with the North Dakota Council on the Arts. Kalmbach's display
includes charcoal, pastels, oils acrylics and mixed media works.

By Caroline Downs
Kenmare artist Jane Kalmbach is starting the New Year with a new venue for her paintings, as the featured artist in the offices of Governor John Hoeven and First Lady Mikey Hoeven.
The exhibit, coordinated with the North Dakota Council on the Arts, promotes the work of North Dakota artists by displaying their work for three months at the State Capitol. Kalmbach will travel to Bismarck on Monday to meet with NDCA executive director Jan Webb and hang the selected pieces.
“It’s an honor to be chosen,” said Kalmbach, who is the first Kenmare artist to be selected since the program started in 2001. “This is a goal I wanted to accomplish last year.”
She submitted a resume and photos of her paintings for consideration early last summer. “I actually sent a few of my cards with some of my work on it,” she said. In her application, she also shared links to art featured on her website.
She was notified of her acceptance within a few weeks, with instructions to provide six large pieces at least 20”x24” and six smaller paintings. Glancing around her studio at the canvases she has prepared for the exhibit, Kalmbach laughed. “I don’t think any of these are the same as I submitted,” she said. “That was work I’ve done in the last couple of years, and the things I’m taking are very new items.”
Actually, three of her selections are well-known among her friends and customers, including an oil painting on birch bark of two prairie wolves that she refuses to sell, despite generous offers. She will also exhibit an abstract sunflower done in oils that has been a favorite at art shows and a three-generations charcoal drawing of her grandfather, father and brother in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Christiansen farm at Flaxton.
Kalmbach returns frequently to wildlife themes. Her new work with those subjects includes a mountain lion painted with acrylics on a bleached North Dakota buffalo skull and a pastel drawing of a pair of Canada geese in flight, glowing in the red and amber tones of afternoon sunlight.
“I will also be taking a pastel hunting dog,” she said as she looked over a golden retriever holding a rooster pheasant, finished last week. “I’m just not sure which one yet. I may do another one.”
She has experimented in recent months with mixed media, often using collage. That style will be represented in the exhibit by several works, including her “I Love Life” abstract painting that highlights a piece of 1920s sheet music with the same title. “I’ve had a lot of good comments about that one when I’ve taken it to shows this fall,” she said.
Sometimes Kalmbach incorporates spiritual elements into her paintings, including a mixed media work with acrylic washes, the first verse of the 23rd Psalm, and an ornate resin cross attached to the canvas. Another piece in the same style is titled “Then Sings My Soul” and combines abstract designs in acrylics, text, and music written for the hymn “How Great Thou Art.”
Kalmbach smiled at her assortment of paintings. “I want to have a little bit of everything,” she said, adding she still intends to create a three-dimensional shadowbox display of the repurposed piano keys she and Tami Gravesen transform into painted and beaded bookmarks, charms and pendants. “I would like to show a variety of things, instead of six pastel dogs. It’s just going to be a matter of deciding what to take!”
2010 plans involve
community outreach
Kalmbach is looking ahead to several more projects in 2010, including applying for a Bush Foundation grant for visual artists, teaching art as a guest instructor for Kenmare elementary students, and working with young artists in the Kenmare Summer Arts Institute.
One of her first new ventures this winter will be to partner with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the 2010 Junior Duck Stamp Program and Contest by volunteering in the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classrooms at Kenmare to prepare contest entries in acrylics and pastels. She has been consulting about the Junior Duck Stamp guidelines with biologists Andy Jewett of the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge and Connie Mueller of the Lostwood NWR.
Kalmbach also plans to offer a Saturday session for older and younger youth who are interested in the contest, as well as kids living out of town who would like to prepare an entry.
Another major undertaking will be the expansion of classes offered by the Lakeview Art Club in Kenmare, with help from a $2,000 donation from Kenmare Veterans Club, Inc. to pay instructor fees, advertising costs and supply expenses. “That will help limit the cost of the lessons,” said Kalmbach, who serves as secretary for the art club. “This donation will be used to bring in visiting artists to continue to build Kenmare as an arts community.”
Kalmbach herself will teach the first class in January, a course in acrylic painting, and she welcomes both beginning and experienced artists. Guest instructors for painting with oils, beginning drawing and stained glass techniques are also on the schedule.
“I would love to try a basic photography class and even glass fusing,” she said. “We’re planning for one [weekend class] a month, and if people have something they’re interested in doing, they should let me know.”
She expressed her gratitude to the Kenmare Veterans Club for their generous support of art programs for adults in the community. “This is a great opportunity for the art club, to be able to do this,” she said. “We’re hoping we can get people more interested in finding their creativity.”
Persons who have questions about the upcoming arts classes, or suggestions for teachers or art media they want to try, should contact Kalmbach at 701-385-4528.
More of Kalmbach’s art can be seen on her website at
Still time for
another painting
Meanwhile, the next few days at Kalmbach’s home studio will be spent in a flurry of preparation as she chooses paintings for the Governor’s offices. “I’m excited about it and somewhat nervous,” she said. “You wonder if your work is up to the standards, but I think everything will be all right once I can see how things look hung up there. It’s nice to see how other people promote their art community.”
And a few nerves won’t stop her from picking up the paintbrushes or pastels to complete another new painting or two this week before the show. “I wouldn’t mind doing a cute black Lab puppy, if there’s time,” she said, with a smile. “Everybody loves a puppy!”
Kalmbach’s paintings will be on display in the Governor’s and First Lady’s offices in Bismarck through the end of March 2010.
Artists looking to represent their region with art work placed in the offices of the Governor and First Lady can submit a brief resume along with photographs or slides of their work to the North Dakota Council on the Arts, 1600 East Century Avenue, Suite 6, Bismarck, ND 58503. Artists are selected for quarterly display.